Hundreds of plants belong to the Ardisia genus, spread in most of the tropical areas of the globe; in reality in the nursery we find almost exclusively Ardisia crenata, a species native to Central Asia, in the area from India to China and Japan. In the places of origin it becomes a medium-sized shrub, instead cultivated in pots it remains below one meter in height; in particular in European nurseries there are often varieties selected for their small size and for the compactness of the vegetation. This small evergreen shrub is very decorative, has large oval leaves, dark green, leathery, with wavy, shiny edges; in the spring at the apex of the branches small white star flowers bloom, slightly fragrant, hanging, gathered in racemes. In autumn the flowers are followed by small red berries; the brightly colored berries can remain on the plant for months, often even after the flowering of the following year; moreover the branches bearing the berries tend to defoliate, making the fruits stand out even more.
How they are grown
These plants are easy to grow, since they can also withstand non-ideal conditions without being excessively damaged; in reality in order to have a healthy and luxuriant plant, an abundant flowering, and always colorful and decorative berries it is good to follow some indications. First of all it is essential to find a suitable place for ours ardisia crenata: this plant does not like direct sun, which tends to stain the foliage and ruin the whole plant; therefore we choose a well-lit place but where the sunlight arrives filtered, so as not to harm our plant.
We also remember that the first rule for having a beautiful luxuriant plant is to bury it in the most suitable soil: Ardisia crenata is satisfied with any soil, however excellent results are obtained only by using a soil rich in organic matter, soft, and very well drained; if we want to grow this shrub in a pot we remember to repot it every year, in autumn, changing most of the soil of the container with fresh and rich soil.
The waterings will be aimed at maintaining a slightly damp soil, but not soaked with water, always waiting for it to dry completely between one watering and the other; therefore in spring and summer we water frequently, while during the cold months we only supply water sporadically, in order to avoid the development of harmful water stagnations. From March until October we mix the specific fertilizer for flowering plants with the irrigating water, every 10-12 days.